Ontario’s Ministry of Health Promotion has endorsed the fluoridation of drinking water.
In a recent letter to Norfolk council, minister Margaret Best said the fluoridation of drinking water has the McGuinty government’s blessing.
“Fluoridation of local drinking water at recommended levels in Ontario is recognized as a safe practice, enshrined in law under the Fluoridation Act,” Best said.
Norfolk council has been debating the merits of fluoridated water since the fall. Norfolk public works brought the issue to council’s attention because water system employees are increasingly reluctant to handle fluoride in its concentrated form, which is known as hydrofluosilicic acid. The acid in its undiluted state is toxic and corrosive.
Municipal water customers in Simcoe, Delhi and Courtland receive fluoridated water. Norfolk public works has warned council that it will be expensive to extend fluoridated water to municipal customers in Waterford, Port Dover and Port Rowan.
Since staff raised the issue, fluoride opponents from outside the community have pressured council to drop fluoridation. Meanwhile, local health care officials, including Dr. Malcolm Lock, Haldimand-Norfolk’s Medical Officer of Health and area dentists, have advised council to keep fluoride in the system.
In March, council deferred the issue, choosing instead to seek direction from the Ministry of Labour, the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care. and the Ministry of the Environment.
Mayor Dennis Travale’s letter to MOH was forwarded to Best for reply.
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral. It is added to municipal water as a means of fortifying tooth enamel. Dental associations say fluoride reduces the incidence of tooth decay in communities that use it.